'Economic recovery faster than expected'
New Delhi: The Indian economy is getting back on track faster than expected as a timely lockdown and various relief measures announced by the government helped address issues faced by all sections of society and all economic sectors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said.
He also expressed confidence that the target of making India a $5-trillion economy will be achieved by 2024, saying that the crisis gave the government an opportunity to carry out reforms that were waiting to happen for decades but no one earlier took the initiative.
"Reforms across sectors such as coal, agriculture, labour, defence, civil aviation and so on have been undertaken which will help us get back on the high growth path that we were on before the crisis," Modi said in an interview published in the Economic Times newspaper on Thursday.
On COVID-19 vaccine, he said every Indian will be vaccinated as and when a vaccine becomes available, though the focus initially would be on protecting the most vulnerable and the frontline workers.
Modi reiterated that there should be no room for complacency in fighting this virus and the only way forward is to take precautions such as wearing masks, hand washing and social distancing.
He said the government in the very beginning decided to be proactive and introduced a timely nationwide lockdown.
"We not only got the broad timing of various phases of lockdown right, we also got the unlock process right and much of our economy is also coming back on track. The data for August and September indicates that" he said.
He said this is a new virus and countries which had initially controlled the outbreak are now reporting a resurgence.
"The geographical spread of India, population density, the regular social gatherings must be kept in mind when we look at these numbers and seek to compare with others. Many of our states are larger than countries," he added.
Modi said India's response in tackling the crisis has been focused on increasing capabilities to handle the situation, making people more aware, creating more facilities etc in keeping with the dictum 'Hope for the best but prepare for the worst'.
Asked about plans for further stimulus for the economy, he said, "We will take all measures needed to constantly stimulate the economy in a timely manner while ensuring overall macro-economic stability.
"Remember, we are still not over with the pandemic. Yet, our economy has shown a remarkable capability to bounce back, largely because of the resilience of our people. "This is something that is not captured in these numbers but is the reason behind those numbers.